Originally created 10/26/02

Reporter clears up program claims



This is a response to Richard Arnold's Oct. 10 letter, "TV report on GOP ad mostly false."

In our report, "Ad Watch 2002: Cleland vs. Chambliss" (on WAGT Channel 26), our goal was to find out if Max Cleland actually voted 116 times for higher taxes, as the Republican ad asserted. We examined what the ad claimed, then held those claims up to the official congressional record.

We found the majority of those votes did not appear to call for tax cuts. We reported this, and at no time during the story did we ever approve of spending tax dollars on prescription drug benefits and defense or call those expenditures good things.

Our job is to remain neutral, so we simply reported that was how Mr. Cleland voted.

Our story actually read, "A closer look shows instead of giving you a tax cut, he voted to spend that money on things like prescription drug benefits and defense."

In addition, we found many of those bills also included future tax cuts of more than a trillion dollars. The ad failed to mention this, so we reported it.

We appreciate Mr. Arnold's comments, and thank him for watching 26 Action News.

Mike Petchenik, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is a reporter for 26 Action News.)